As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing
The Ins And Outs Of Homeowner Associations
Homeowners' associations (HOAs) have rules and regulations by which home buyers must abide if they purchase a property within a community. These rules and regulations are designed to preserve the community's integrity and property values, distribute the cost of services, protect residents and make the community a desirable place to live. Rules may vary by association, but they are usually strictly enforced.
Before buying in an HOA check out their reserve funds, budgets, bylaws, rules, and restrictions of the community. Make sure that there are adequate amounts in the reserves in case of major problems. If you are considering buying in a condominium community this is especially important to access whether or not there is enough to cover such things as roof repairs, asphalt repairs, pool issues, and/or property defects.
Depending on the community some HOA’s offer lawn care services for their homeowners, while others expect the homeowners to maintain their own yards. HOA rules may dictate how tall grass can grow before it must be cut. The rules may include that residents are required to contact the association before adding or modifying such things as gardens, trees, or bushes to their landscaping. It is possible that an HOA may have rules as well on pesticides, mulch, or other lawn care solutions as a part of their rules.
Typically HOA rules will require that improvements to your home are approved prior to beginning work. Whether you are painting the exterior, adding a pool, or adding shutters for example, there most likely will be guidelines to abide by. The HOA protects that the community is preserved in a uniform appearance.
HOA rules may indicate whether pets are allowed in the community. This would be more common if you are purchasing a condominium. The rules may state which type of pets are allowed. This could include breeds, size, and limit the amount of pets per household. HOA rules may also list clean up and leash requirements.
Parking regulations will vary depending on the type of community you live in. They may state the number of parking spot each resident receives, the location for visitor parking, how many cars and type of vehicles may be parked on a driveway.
The rules of the HOA will clearly state which maintenance repairs are the responsibility of the association. They precisely list these areas so as to eliminate any confusion about homeowners’ responsibilities.
Fees for HOA’s can vary greatly. From $200 or below to several hundred per month. It depends on the community and services that are covered. Your real estate agent can provide this information to you when you are looking at properties to purchase. It is important to budget this amount into your total home expense category. Some HOA’s require the fee to be paid monthly, while with others it may be an annual expense.
Your real estate agent, Sam Lepore, can help you when shopping for a home. He’ll help you find the best home for the right budget and needs. Call Sam today at (856) 297-6827.
Sam Lepore is a Realtor with Keller Williams in Moorestown, NJ. Call him today at 856.297.6827 ....